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Diety Build Order Checks

Discussion in 'Strategy Section' started by Stalker0, Feb 19, 2020.

  1. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    Diety Players,

    I want to rethink some assumptions I've been making lately, as I keep hearing comments from you as to how your catching up or even dominating the AI in science and culture by the midgame...whereas I normally find myself a good 8-10 techs behind in many cases until spies help me catch up.

    One thing I do a lot with wide play is a very strong settler push. Often my capital makes 5 or 6 settlers to establish an initial 6 or 7 city base.

    Do you all do the same, or do you go for slower expansion and more buildings early on? Also, how quickly are you building your councils? I generally neglect them in favor of monument/shrine/wells/barracks...do you slip them in before you are building these buildings?

    Worker wise, when do you generally build your first worker, and how worker heavy do you go before focusing on more building infrastructure (as progress).
     
  2. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Emperor

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    I play Deity but I rarely dominate the AI by the mid-game. I can with certain civs who have particularly strong starts but it's not the norm for me. Maybe that disqualifies me from giving any advice but I like strategy discussions so I'm joining in anyway!

    I don't think it's necessarily too alarming if you're behind 8-10 techs or a few policies in the mid-game depending on the situation. If the tech/policy leader is a civ that starts strong and you're reaching for parts of the tech tree which means you haven't researched a bunch of lower cost techs yet then you're probably not as far behind as you think, especially if you're a civ with some later bonuses.

    In your particular case you might be slowing yourself down pretty hard just by building all of your settlers from the capital while playing Progress. I'll often build the first 3 or so from the capital but then allow my secondary cities to build a settler once they hit 4 pop. Progress gets science from citizens born in the capital so if you're not getting any science from that mechanic for a long time in the early game it can stunt you (and I don't believe you get science from building a settler to drop down to 3 pop and then growing back to 4... you have to grow to 5 for that next science infusion).

    Progress also gets culture directly from science so that may be a good reason to bump councils in priority. My general build order in secondary cities is usually:

    shrine (only first if it will help me found sooner, otherwise I probably deprioritize it pretty heavily)
    monument (for quicker acquisition of good tiles and because +2 culture is strong early)
    council
    granary
    well

    The above is pretty general, though and can certainly be adapted for a number of reasons. A civ like the Maya with a bunch of Kunas might not care nearly as much about councils early, for instance.

    For workers- my general rule (past the initial turns of course and assuming I've unlocked the tech) is to not be working unimproved tiles. So if I've just built a settler and the city he will found has a tile it will work that could be improved then I will likely build a worker next. This means, of course, that certain starts can be very worker light- forest/jungle plantation starts that can't be improved for a while mean you spend your production/gold elsewhere. Other starts (mining luxeries or trapping starts for instance) might be worker heavy as I rush to improve those tiles.

    The extra caveat to the above is that progress should aim to have its cities connected right around the time you unlock fraternity while also not neglecting tile improvements. that +3 science from city connections can often double your science output which also gets your policies faster.
     
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  3. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    Things do change a lot from start to start. Here's my progress playbook (not for this patch, but for previous ones)

    If ruins enabled or a very good start (like Carthage), shrine first. Otherwise monument first. After growing to pop 2, don't work pure food tiles (like floodplains). Finishing shrine and monument is much, much more important than getting to 3 pop.

    My default first tech is pottery, there's always a decent chance you find a natural wonder or want to forward settle an AI. After that you want luxury techs and animal husbandry. Chariots + warriors are usually good enough to defend for me. I prefer chariots to archers for their mobility, they have a much better chance of clearing camps for city states.

    Take the gold/worker policy second, and the food/science third. I've actually reloaded a start and tried both left path and right path, the right is usually a lot better. Take production 4th, culture for buildings 5th, and happiness last.

    Sometimes if a new city has a good production tile (like a copper hill), lock that immediately, build council-granary, then grow after those are done. You'll pick up around 20 science from the instant yields. Your capital can build a caravan during this time. Then that city uses its granary to send a food caravan to the capital. Other cities want shrine/monument first, it depends on how much faith you got.

    Early writing for scrivener's office can go really well. It gives faith per CS ally and a free emissary. Diplomatic units are actually quite cheap in the early game.
    Does the AI not get angry at that settler spam? It's good to be an friendly terms at least for a while, soemtimes they send a trade route that gives you a lot of free science. Ideally your 2nd city hits right after your 2nd social, then your 3rd city after your third social, 4th after 4th, and I spam at that point. Settling too quick hurts culture, especially if you aren't building monument first or have culture from your pantheon.

    Councils usually before barracks for me. Generally I build monuments, shrines, wells, councils and granaries early. Most other buildings mostly wait until after my 5th social, build workers, work boats, or a bit of military instead.
     
  4. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    Yeah it looks like you are settling much slower than I am in general, its good to know.
     
  5. Delvemor

    Delvemor Chieftain

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    I've never played on Deity but I get better results by opening with the left path first in the Progress tree. I used to do exactly as you say because the free early worker was very appealing to me, but then I figured out the early production and culture from the left path allowed me to get all the social policies faster. Also depending on the situation, the early worker might not be as useful as I wish him to be, either because of barbarians (I like them raging) or because I don't have the relevant techs to improve the tiles just yet. For the early worker to be worth as much production, I assume you're using him to build early mines ? You can also prepare the roads I guess but at that stage of the game I usually didn't decide all my future city locations just yet.

    If your idea was for Carthage specifically then yes I would definitely try that, for the city connections giving science after picking Fraternity. Same with the Iroquois.
     
  6. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    Have you compared the results side by side?

    The right side gets an instant worker, that's an instant 80 hammers. If he improves one horse, that's already 2 hammers to match the left side. If you were even considering building a worker, it's way better than 2 hammers per turn. If your pantheon requires connecting resources, there's really no contest. Even if the worker has to just chill for a few turns, I still take the worker first.
    Fraternity is a really good policy even without city connections. 3 food per city is much better than 10% production on buildings this early. 3 science in your capital alone is a big deal.

    You need a really specific start for a worker to not be desirable. Maybe on archipelago maps, or jungle with fishing resources. Here, I think the next best approach is actually the 2 hammer policy, then the free worker, then fraternity.

    I don't the 2 hammer policy is actually better in production (I know it seems odd). Your worker can get you production, fraternity's food can give production indirectly, the gold to invest buildings is a substitute for production. 3 science in your capital is better than building a council there.

    The 10% hammers, 10 culture per building policy just is not good in the early game. By the renaissance its the most important policy in progress, but at game start its so small.
     
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  7. Delvemor

    Delvemor Chieftain

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    I've never compared the results side by side for the same start. I probably got unlucky many games in a row with low production around my capital and then got better results with the +2 prod per city for that reason. I choose not to play with strategic balance, so no horse or iron guaranteed.

    However at the time I made that conclusion (over a year ago) I was not rushing buildings with gold, which I definitely do now, especially monuments and shrines, depending if I can reliably get a religion or not. Also with the starting warrior it's now much easier to protect the worker and the newly improved tiles without having the pathfinder stuck at home.

    I will make that side by side comparison for my next game but you already convinced me.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2020
  8. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    So I gave the slower expansion a try with Russia. I definitely noticed the increase in science and culture, and found I was able to connect and get my new cities developed quicker.

    There were downsides of course, one of the city spots I wanted got taken (I know the warmongers will say "well just take it!" but I prefer to be more passive if I can). Also, I felt like my religion was slower overall without the extra shrines. Normally with a pyramid rush and beauty I can get a religion by Turn 100, but this time it took me to turn 105....which at least with the pre change Immortal AI would have been too slow to guarantee a founding.

    I also feel that my monopoly was a little slower but not much. On the one hand the city I needed to get the resources took longer, but I also brought them online quicker.
     
  9. tu_79

    tu_79 Deity

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    This is telling me that there's some imbalance here.

    For instance, the right path, is it better than the left from the worker or the connection policy? If that's the first thing, then maybe we could reduce the gold, if it's the second, then maybe the yields could be reduced (less science or less food).

    Secondly, I also noticed that the happiness policy is always last, probably because its effect will come much later. Could it just severely reduce empire size unhappiness so we can settle 3-4 more cities safely?
     
  10. Delvemor

    Delvemor Chieftain

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    I don't believe there is anything to change in the Progress tree. Just because opening with the right side first might be better most of the time doesn't mean we should nerf what it gives. I don't see the happiness policy (Equality) being picked last as a problem, as it has a very good long-term effect. I would much rather keep Equality the way it is now instead of making it better in the short term.
     
  11. tu_79

    tu_79 Deity

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    On the contrary. If a path is taken in the same order regardless of other circumstances, then there's nothing to think about and that's to the game's detriment. We've gone a long way just to give the player several viable paths.
     
  12. Delvemor

    Delvemor Chieftain

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    I agree with the principle, but I don't see how Equality being picked last is a problem, it clearly does the job for what it's meant to do. I believe making it better in the short term to the detriment of the long term would mean a nerf to Progress play. From my experience on Emperor or Immortal, the limiting factor for the number of cities you can settle in the early game is not happiness, but rather the ability to do so before the AIs take the best spots and also the ability to defend yourself in the process. Also, up until now I was always taking the left side thinking it was better because I had a tendency to start improving my tiles a bit later anyway and picking pantheons not requiring improved tiles by workers. It might not have been optimal but it was apparently good enough below Deity.

    In the same way I almost always open Industry with the right side unless I have a lot of poverty unhappiness (rare) or if I'm playing a civ which benefits greatly from international trade routes, such as Germany or Morocco. Would you see that as a problem too ?
     
  13. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    I would argue the majority of trees have a default optimized path. Sure you can shake it up, but most of the time there's a "right way" to go through the tree.
     
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  14. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    Progress has 3 policies that give flat yields to all cities, and 2 policies that gives effects dependent on the city being big (happiness and 10% production). Early on, the flat yields are always better, its just how math works out. I don't think it's a balance problem.
     
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  15. tu_79

    tu_79 Deity

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    If you end up picking always the right path under any circumstances then in my book it is imbalanced.
    As I see it, the problem is that we are offered flat bonuses along with scaling bonuses in tier 2 policies.
     
  16. Gidoza

    Gidoza Emperor

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    I usually use the terms "internal balance" and "external balance" to refer to these kinds of situations

    "External balance" refers to the differences between Civs themselves, or the distinction in a game like StarCraft between Terran/Zerg/Protoss.

    "Internal balance" refers to the internal choices available to a player: so a civ or a race might be balanced, but there are things available to the player that are never used (e.g. I can't ever think of a time playing America when I thought building the UU was worth more than just plain infrastructure; in professional games of StarCraft, Dark Archons are almost never used). In other words, it begs the question of design as to whether something plays a part for a civ at all or if any decision-making is actually required. It can make a game very lame quickly because the supposed balance isn't in the breadth of the civ, but in aspects *of* it. This is how vanilla Warcraft 3 ended up having Caster Wars, because other units weren't worth the investment compared to power, even if all the races were balanced.


    The only way I can think of making Progress more "interesting" in choices without taking anything away would be to shuffle and mix up all the bonuses amongst the tenets, but leave the bonuses all the same overall. I have to admit that I almost always take the free Worker.

    Now something I would discuss more is why all three starting trees have a production bonus to all cities (Authority has +1 per tenet, Progress has +2 for all, and Tradition has +1 for all). Personally, I'd want to make each tree more unique, and leave the production bonus as something special to Authority, this reconstructing the other trees from there.
     
  17. Heinz_Guderian

    Heinz_Guderian Chieftain

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    I really like this comment. I havent yet decided how important it is to have "internal balance" along with the desired "external balance", but it is really worth thinking about. If possible, I would prefer if every policy was balanced, but as you say, external balance is much more important.

    This is highly offtopic, but I think the balance of units was excellent in WC3. There are almost no unit that is never built in that game, which is pretty awesome. And I still follow the scene somewhat. I disagree with the "caster wars" part of your comment.
     
  18. Gidoza

    Gidoza Emperor

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    I do recall in WC3 Vanilla that Humans and Orcs in particular tended to mass casters, and this is in part what inspired some of the Expansion units that involved stealing, dispelling, or boosting units based on the use of casters or buffs...and to some degree then making casters pointless. But you're right, it wasn't universal and I may be over-emphasizing the example.


    Anyways, regarding policies, I notice a couple trends in discussions about them that's worth discussing more.

    1. Should strong tenets be amidst the first selections? Because then you have several good choices, but you can't have them all at once.

    2. Should strong choices be hidden behind weaker ones? Then pursuing a certain route is slow but rewarding.

    3. How many dependencies do we actually want in the tree at all?


    The problem with #1 is that it creates the issue previously mentioned about the happiness tenet in the Progress tree. The issue with #2 is that you will end up with crappy initial choices because if you don't, the default option will always be the strongest early one because time is too much of the essence to pursue something more distant. The issue with resolving both is a variant of #3 where there isn't even a tree at all, which I'm not sure is desirable.

    I think biting at that illustration and hacking away at it can help us figure out more where we want to go.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2020
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  19. tu_79

    tu_79 Deity

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    Ok, I was talking about internal balance.
    I see two ways of dealing with it.
    1. Just accept that the same order is going to be followed, but don't deceive the player letting him think that he has options.
    In this case, it would be better to reorder the policies so they are offered in the same order we are going to take them. For example, the Progress happiness policy is always taken last, no matter the other policies, then it should be available only when all the other policies have already been taken.
    2. Make the options meaningful. This is harder to achieve since we need to know why some policies are always taken last. In this case, I think both the free worker and the production per city are on equal terms, but science from connection is just leagues better than the other tier 2 Progress policies. Why? Because it is giving a very good flat bonus, while the others are mostly scalable (they are better later). Culture from building buildings is nice, but culture comes from researching technologies mostly, so that's a bit secondary.
    Rearranging the policies order might work. Sorry I don't remember the policy names.
    Left side: Production --> Culture from buildings.
    Right side: Free worker AND Happiness --> Science from connections
    This way we are forced to pick the happiness policy first if we want science from connections, effectively making the science from connections a tier 3 policy. This makes getting culture from buildings more appealing since it is still a tier 2 policy. We can get culture from both policies, but happening at tier 2 instead of tier 3 makes it much better in comparison.
    The problem with this approach is that it is a nerf to Progress if we keep current values, so some values should be raised as a tradeoff.
     
  20. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Emperor

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    This thread is now a rollercoaster of nostalgia lol.

    I think you guys are both right re WC3. I vaguely remember units like spell breakers showing up to counter the casters in the expansion? I loved WC3's balance overall when I was playing it (I played primarily the lesser known FFA, so fun and dynamic). I particularly loved the hard counters they used with damage type vs armor type where knowing your opponent's army composition and then building the appropriate counter was crucial. I like that civ/VP try to replicate this a little via CS vs RCS vs mobility/ZoC and the various promotions.

    I think internal vs external balance is a good way to think about the policies (and the various other examples you list, like the Civs themselves). I think external balance has to take priority first.

    Internal balance can be achieved situationally, too. The free worker first is arguably superior in Progress except situationally when you have nothing worth improving (maybe you have a quarry or jungle plantation start?). I think Progress' happiness policy is never situationally better at that stage in the game, though, so maybe something like moving the +2 gold bonus there could help encourage choice?
     
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